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Karr Defends VNR Study in Letter

Timothy Karr, campaign director for Free Press, wrote FCC Chairman Kevin Martin to defend an April 2006 video news release study issued in conjunction with Free Press by the Center for Media and Democracy.

The study, which identified stations that had aired the releases without identification, has recently come under fire from the Radio-Television News Directors Association and the newly formed National Association of Broadcast Communicators .

"The RTNDA needs to understand that their members use of the public airwaves is a privilege, not a right," wrote Karr. "When TV stations turn their backs on the public interest to air “fake news” provided by public relations firms, they defy the spirit and letter of their broadcast licenses.

Karr was essentially offering up a lengthy rebuttal issued last week by CMD.

The FCC launched an investigation of VNR's back in May, and sent letters of inquiry to a number of stations in August, though that move did not mean the FCC has necessarily found anything illegal in the airings. FCC rules do not require identification unless the VNR is on a political or controversial topic.